Ways to spend EuroMillions winnings of £115m

Holidays, homes, yachts and jets – or acts of decency and generosity? We look at options

EuroMillions lottery winners Frances (centre) and Patrick  Connolly:  won the £114,969,775 million jackpot in the New Year’s Day draw. Photograph: Paul Faith

EuroMillions lottery winners Frances (centre) and Patrick Connolly: won the £114,969,775 million jackpot in the New Year’s Day draw. Photograph: Paul Faith


The first thing Northern Ireland’s £115 million (€127 million) EuroMillions jackpot winners are likely to want to do is take a holiday and they mentioned they fancied a trip to Mauritius.

A two-week holiday for Frances and Patrick Connolly and their children at the St Regis Mauritius Resort – staying in a beachfront suite – will cost about €30,000 with first-class flights to the island coming in at about €20,000.

If they fancy somewhere more high-end, they could try the Caribbean island of Necker. Owned by Sir Richard Branson, the island has room for 34 people, looked after by staff of 100 and a three-night stay in a suite comes at a cost of €6,500 per couple so a two-week jolly for the Connolly family would cost €182,000.

For that they will get all meals and drinks, a dedicated team of staff, two freshwater infinity pools and a huge hot tub on the beach, private tennis courts, a disco DJ included on one night, and wifi.

Island life

The whole island of Necker rents for €68,000 a night so a two-week break for the winners and up to 32 of their friends and family would cost €985,000, leaving the new EuroMillions winners with a not-too-shabby €126 million to play with.

Next up will be a new house. Among the most expensive properties for sale in Northern Ireland now is a 7,000 sq ft home on Glen Road in Craigavad, Holywood, not far from where the Connollys currently live. Described in the sales material as one of Northern Ireland’s “most exceptional contemporary residences” it was built in 2006 and won the Royal Institute of British Architects Housing awards a year later.The €3 million property is an “exceptionally private, elevated site with breathtaking views across Belfast Lough”.

There are three floors, all serviced by a lift, four bedrooms (all en-suite, obviously), a games room, a three-car garage and CCTV security cameras

While cars for the garage will be next on the list, the couple might consider a second-hand Lear Jet for about €2.5 million although that does not cover any running costs.

Charitable acts

A decent yacht, meanwhile, will set them back at least €50 million and comes with far more exorbitant running costs than a jet and they could end up paying about 10 per cent of the purchase price each year to keep it afloat.

Tickets for Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic are available for about €230,000, so the whole family could book themselves a 2½ hour journey 90km above the Earth for over €1 million.

Alternatively, the couple could give some of the money away, and they have already pledged donations to a local football team and Belfast-based View Magazine. The cost of immunising children against most of the life-threatening illnesses in poor countries costs about €25 so the EuroMillions winners could still afford to vaccinate almost five million children in impoverished countries and still have €7 million left to play with.

Dark side of winning

People should be careful of what they wish for as not all lottery winners win at life and there are hundreds of cautionary tales out there.

In 2003, 16-year-old Callie Rogers won £1.8 million to become the youngest jackpot winner in the UK. Within a decade almost all her money was gone, having been frittered away on cosmetic surgery, clothes and drugs.

At least she is still alive. In 2012, Urooj Khan, an Indian immigrant to the US won $1 million and after picking up his novelty cheque went for dinner with his family. Within hours he was dead with a postmortem revealing the 46 year old had been poisoned with cyanide.

A bitter legal battle between various family members over his estate ensued and his murder remains unsolved.

In 2006, Abraham Shakespeare won $17 million but within three year he was dead and buried under the patio of a woman called DeeDee Moore.

Billie Bob Harrell jnr won more than $30 million in the late 1990 and promptly quit his job at Home Depot and moved to Hawaii with his family. Less than two years after his win, with his life in a downward spiral, he died by suicide.

Jack Whittaker won $315 million in 2002. Thieves robbed him of $545,000 that he left in his car. His daughter and granddaughter died in drug-related deaths and, just four years after winning the money, he was broke. “I think if you have something, there’s always someone else that wants it,” Whittaker has said. “I wish I’d torn that ticket up.”

William “Bud” Post won $16.2 million in the Pennsylvania lottery in 1988. Within a year, he was $1 million in debt. “I wish it never happened,” Post said. “It was totally a nightmare.” He was sued for a share of his winnings by a girlfriend while his brother was arrested for hiring a hit man to kill him. He later lived on €400 a month and food stamps.